UK shares face another pre-holidays lull on Thursday with investors lacking the appetite to drive London shares one way or the other. The FTSE 100 nudges a modest 6 points or so lower at 7,035, staying making a pre-Christmas close above the 7,000 mark more likely.

In a quiet day for corporate news car dealer Inchcape (INCH) has agreed to pay £234m in cash to acquire a Subaru and Hino Motors-focused distribution business in South America from subsidiaries and affiliates of Empresas Indumotora. Inchcape reckons the acquisition will create a scale distribution platform for its operations in South America, adding Colombia and Argentina to its markets and boosting its presence in Chile and Peru. That news lifts the stock 5.5% to 677p.

Tool hire group HSS Hire (HSS) raises £13m via a placing to strengthen its balance sheet as it continues restructuring. HSS says its outlook for the year to the end of December 2016 remains unchanged but notes its restructuring programme has been extended into the first quarter of 2017. The shares stay flat at 84p, unsurprising given the virtual zero discount of the cash call, priced at 83.875p.

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Insurer Legal & General (LGEN) has appointed former Ernst & Young man Jeff Davies as its new chief financial officer, although the news barely raises an investors eyebrow, the stock fixed at 245.7p. Davies will take up the role following in the companys preliminary results announcement for calendar year 2016, at some point in spring 2017. Mark Gregory, the current CFO, will step down at the same time.

Firmer pricing for its core coal sales gives Hargreaves Services (HSP) a lift, the stock rallying 5.5% to 232p. The company will report its interim results for the six months ended 30 November on 15 February 2017.

Indian e-tailer Koovs (KOOV:AIM) slumps 9% to 47.75p despite posting impressive-looking user figures alongside interim results to 30 September. Soaring operating losses to £9.2m from £6..1m are blamed.

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A licence tie-up with biotech start-up Trienza gives UK oncology specialist Abzena (ABZA:AIM) a lift, the stock up nearly 4% at 34.5p. The deal grants Trieza an exclusive worldwide, royalty bearing, sub-licensable licence to an undisclosed antibody sequence, which was created using the Abzena's Composite Human Antibody™ technology. This will be used to explore viral vector therapies in oncology.

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Issue Date: 22 Dec 2016